Friday, October 28, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Chokes

Monday afternoon, Anna and I were doing our weekly produce run at J-Bears. (Side note- a woman in her thirties does not buy salmon at the same place she buys batteries.) It was late for Anna's lunch, so I did what I see other Moms do all the time-- I let her eat a little snack as we shopped. The snack in question was those little freeze dried yogurt-melt deals, the ones reserved for the space program back in the 80's.

I had just placed a jar of cardamom pods into the cart (I'm embracing my Indian side since discovering curry isn't so bad after all), when it happened. I heard Anna let out a cough that I'd never heard before. I looked at her face and saw her mouth opened in a small o, her face turing bright red.

My pumpkin was choking.

This is the part of the story when I tell you that a woman in her thirties, especially one who JUST TOOK A RED CROSS SAFETY COURSE NOT TWO YEARS AGO, remains calm. She thinks about her training, expels the astronaut food from her daughter's throat, and moves on with her day.

Except that's not what happened. As my baby choked, I... choked. I remember sticking my finger in her mouth (hoping to do WHAT, exactly?) while I began to pant loudly. 'Ohmygod, ohmygod, help!' I was saying to myself, only I was also saying it aloud. A worker, who happened to be standing a few feet away, came over to me, helped me lift Anna out of the cart. 'She's breathing,' she said. 'It's going to be okay.'

As the worker got ready to push on her stomach, Anna managed to dislodge the piece stuck in her throat on her own. In doing so, she also dislodged the entire contents of the apricot/sweet potato squeeze pouch she'd had an hour before, all over her white sweater, my shirt and jeans, and into my hair. I have never been so happy to be covered in orange puke in my entire life.

I was a wreck when I got home. When I told L what happened, his first response was, 'She's never having those yogurt things again!' (this is funny, if you know L.) But the truth is, I can't blame Gerber. I was trying to do too much. I gave her something that I knew would be difficult for her to chew and swallow, even if she wasn't in a shopping cart. And worst of all, I panicked. I lost my cool. It could have been so much worse.

This week has been all about two things. One, signing up (again) for an infant safety course. This time with L, and this time with the added perspective of actually having a child of my own that might need my protection. And two, slowing down. AB went back to her normal, happy self within a few minutes after the choking incident, but it has taken me a few days to shake off what happened.

A woman in her thirties does better next time, I keep telling myself. And from the looks of it, Anna agrees.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties is Eleven Things

Dear Spookies,

In this penultimate letter to you, I've decided to write down eleven things you might be interested in knowing about the eleventh month of your life. If nothing else, let it serve to remind you that a woman in her thirties can use the word 'penultimate' in a sentence correctly. Vocabulary is important.

1. You have the flexibility of a gymnast. I haven't the slightest idea where you get it from, since touching my toes can prove to be somewhat challenging. Teacher B said yesterday that you need to get enrolled in a dance class ASAP. Let's work on walking first.

2. You know exactly who loves you. You've got your Nie Nie wrapped around your little finger, as well as our cleaning lady, Maria. No one ever gets anything done when you're around.

3. You can go from this:To this:In 2.2 seconds flat. Some warning would be good, Pookin.

4. You still don't have any teeth. I mean, I see them in there, but none of them have poked up. None. My Mom maintains that I had teeth by the time I was four months old, but then again, we're not working under the assumption that you're really my daughter, are we?

5. Last Christmas, when you were still itty bitty, I got a Nook e-reader. Someday you will find that very cute and outdated, but right now it's kinda the cool thing. Anyway, since then I've averaged two books a week, many of them read while feeding you and rocking you to sleep. My favorites have been The Invisible Bridge, Unbroken, Little Bee, and State of Wonder. Read them someday if you're feeling nostalgic for your babyhood.

6. You play a lot. Sometimes you will stop what you're doing and look up at me with a huge smile on your face as if to say, 'Did you see that, Mom? That was so awesome!'
7. You love to feed Daniel. This is a problem, since he is on a strict diet. But it makes you so proud to drop food to him that sometimes we let it slide.
8. You are a talker. All day, everyday, it's Da-DEE, Mom-MEE, and something that sounds like GdongGdongGdong. Often I will turn off the radio in my car and listen to you babble. It's more entertaining than anything I'd find on MPR.

9. You dance. You love the opening credits to The Ellen Degeneres Show as well as The Daily Show. I swear I'm going to video tape it one day and send it to Jon Stewart, in hopes he'll fly us out to New York to meet him.
10. Bath time is the best time at Club C. It will be a sad day when you outgrow this plastic duck tub. Much splashing and Gdonggdonging has taken place in it:
11. Month eleven has been just as wonderful as months 3-10, and a hundred times more wonderful than months 1-2. I am a thousand times happier today than I was yesterday, and a million times happier than I was the day before that. You are a thousand times cuter than I ever thought possible, which is three times cuter than the cutest baby in the world.

That is a lot of math for a woman in her thirties who never quite excelled in the subject. What I'm trying to say is that I love you infinitely.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Goes... On

I was all set to write this week's post about how I've been doing workout DVDs in my basement when Anna is asleep. I was going to talk about how a woman in her thirties channels Suzanne Somers and feels the burn. You all were going to have a great laugh.

And then I got a call this morning from my dear friend Fehmeen, telling me that her wonderful husband, ALS Boy, was gone. It was peaceful, she told me. I'm so proud of him, she said. And I cried and cried and cried.

Grief does strange things to a woman in her thirties. I went to L, who was working in his office, and sobbed into his shoulder. 'We're so lucky,' I kept saying, meaning a million different things. He agreed and helped me book a flight home for the funeral, and I got to the business of washing diapers. Because life goes on, even if Jason cannot.

So that is the title of my post. A woman in her thirties goes on. I can get all religious and say God released him from pain; God is good. I can get all philosophical and talk about Jason's fulfilled purpose in this world. But then I think about his daughter growing up without her Dad. I think about how the Today show spent an entire segment this morning on the state of Ashton and Demi's marriage. I think about how this afternoon I took Anna to Little Gym, then went to the grocery store, and just changed into the same sweatpants I wore last night, when Jason was alive.

And I feel nauseous at the unfairness of it all. I feel guilty for all I have, for all the things I take for granted every single day. I feel ashamed for the petty thoughts I allow to consume me. I feel frustrated that I live in a world where we care more about when Kim Kardashian is having a baby than the fact that people like Jason get sick and die.

I watched Anna for a long time after she fell asleep in my arms tonight and thought of Jason. I thought of the first time I went to dinner with him and Fehmeen, and how we made fun of him incessantly for doing detailed lesson plans for every single day he was in the classroom (Teachers, think about this. Detailed lesson plans. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Come on.) I thought of their wedding day, when he sang to her as she walked down the aisle to him, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I thought of the emails we'd exchanged over the years as his disease took over his poor body. I stroked my beautiful, healthy daughter's face, and saw Jason smiling, wondering why I was wasting time being sad.

So I decided to go down into the basement and pop in my dorky workout DVD. Go ahead, picture me doing my three-legged Down Dog while peeking at my baby monitor. Laugh at me trying to touch my toes the way Shiva Rea does. I'll be laughing along with you. My laugh will be mixed with tears for a life lost and a grieving family, but it will also be mixed with humility. I am alive. I am healthy. I was blessed to know Jason, and I'm blessed now. My laugh will be mixed with awe at mystery of it all.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Vacations

My husband works a lot. A LOT. I knew this before I met him, since we worked at the same company and his reputation preceded him when I was assigned to his account. I have to admit that his drive and work ethic were some of the major things that attracted me to him. That and orange Starbursts. But that's a story for another time.

My husband also travels a lot. A LOT. He makes George Clooney's character in Up In the Air seem like a novice in an airport. He travels so much that we have to resort to uploading his itineraries into Dropbox so I can keep track of what state (or country) he's in any given week. On the plus side, we have enough frequent flyer miles to circle the globe a few times. On the minus side, well, you can guess.

L decided to take vacation this week, his first all year. There are a few things you should know about us and vacation. The first is that I believe the couple that vacations similarly stays happy longer. L and I have similar ideas when it comes to proper vacationing, and it involves a lot sleeping in places like this:
(Nha Trang, Vietnam, 2007. We took breaks from the beach for Pho, massage, and... that's about it.)

But things are different now, with a baby. Vietnam is not possible. And even if it were, L was most excited to actually be HERE, in Pleasantville, for an entire week. It just so happened to be the most beautiful week I've experienced here (please, fellow women in your thirties, remind me of this post in February, when I'm snowed in and suicidal):
(Photos don't do the colors any justice-- it's amazing.)

So vacation week has involved a lot of walking through the bright fall colors in our neighborhood. It has also involved fixing the toilet roll dispenser in the guest bathroom, going to the dentist, ordering curtains for our front room (finally), and working on childproofing our home. And while it might not be the sun-drenched, booze-drinking, sleep-all-day vacation of my twenties, there is someone in our house who couldn't be happier with the way this week has turned out:

So with that, a woman in her thirties re-examines her idea of vacation. Southeast Asia will happen again (oh yes, it WILL happen again), but until then, she snuggles on the couch with her family, sips a glass of wine, and counts herself relaxed. And lucky.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Goes on a Diet

It's been a hard year for Daniel. He's had to deal with a Dad who travels all the time and a Mom who's wrapped up in his new baby sister. We don't go to the dog park as much as we used to. We don't go on as many walks. Often, you will find Daniel sitting patiently in the background, waiting his turn for some love:

All things considered, Daniel has done amazingly well with all the change. He has taken on the role of watchful, annoyed older brother, and I have taken on the role of Mom who's constantly keeping her kids from bothering each other. It's a delicate balance trying to keep your baby and your dog baby happy, and often that involves food. What I'm trying to say that Daniel has gotten a lot of treats in the last year. A lot. Of. Treats.

Before AB:

After AB:

We went for our yearly visit to the vet last Friday, and the doctor was not pleased. '41 pounds', he said. 'He's gained too much weight.'

'Yes,' I said, immediately embarrassed. 'We don't get out like we used to...' I referred to my forever scapegoat playing with blocks on the floor.

The doctor cleared his throat. 'Well, if you want to have Daniel in the family for a long time, you will want to make his diet your priority.'

A woman in her thirties knows when she is being reprimanded, and I was most DEFINITELY being reprimanded. He even put it in writing, in case I didn't feel bad enough:

Daniel is not excited about his new diet. Every time I 'fill' his bowl with food I imagine him saying, 'Seriously, Mom? What the hell?' And then he looks at me with those big brown eyes and I want to reach for the treat jar, just so he'll stop looking at me like that.

Then I have to remember that a woman in her thirties has to be strong when it comes to the health of her family. Two years ago this week, Daniel came into our lives. He gave us our first taste of what it meant to be responsible for someone other than ourselves. He brought our family together. A few sad looks are worth it, if it means he stays healthy and happy.